This year at Forest Brook we’re going to take a prolonged look at this Kingdom Jesus talked about. Using the gospel of Matthew as our primary guide we want to let Jesus speak for Himself about the Kingdom He brought, and we will endeavour to listen.
We desire three outcomes as a result of our study:
The first is that we hope for everyone at Forest Brook to come to understand just what the Kingdom of God is. It’s so much more than a doctrine of the church or some future reality that we are still waiting for. In fact, we believe that if you and I really understood what this Kingdom was, it would be like finding a treasure in a field and then running out to sell everything you have to raise enough money to buy that field (Matthew 13:44). It’s worth that much!
The second outcome we desire is to see everyone at Forest Brook come to the place where they identify themselves with this Kingdom. To see themselves as part of it. But don’t think that will be easy. For that to happen you have to be reborn (John 3:3). And living in this Kingdom is very different from living in this world. The ethics are different. The values are different and extremely challenging. Living in a restored state means being willing to change a lot of things about ourselves in order to come in line with the citizenship of heaven. And living in this Kingdom will be the most important thing in our life – eclipsing everything else. It will become the thing we want most of all out of life (Matthew 6:33).
Thirdly, we believe that, if we see success in #1 and #2, it will change the way every Forest Brooker relates to the world around us. You can’t be part of this Kingdom of God and look at the world the same way ever again. You realize that there really is a difference between light and darkness. You’ll understand the incredible emancipation from slavery that this Kingdom offers. And you’ll yearn to see every person, every institution, and even the earth itself, healed and restored by this Kingdom, just as you have been. You’ll realize that every place you’re blessed to put your foot is a place where you are meant to proclaim this Kingdom to anybody who will listen (Ephesians 6:15). Every act of service you undertake, every effort to make the world a better place or to touch the life of another, will be married to this message – the Kingdom is here (Matthew 10:7-8).
Lofty goals, perhaps. But these are the goals of the Kingdom of heaven. It is the reality of God’s restoring grace and power, working in and through you and me to change the world. It’s a worthy cause, won’t you agree? Let’s begin …